- We often see on our fire risk assessment inspections, PU foam, filling all and sundry holes/ gaps/ and also providing seals for wood or plasterboard fixtures, as well as plastic pipe fixtures, amongst many other illegal attempts at fire stopping.
It is understood knowledge is lacking in many areas of passive fire protection, this is why we are providing FREE guidance here to encourage ALL with an interest to learn more and ensure when you pay money, you get exactly what you are paying for - that is - property protection & life safety.
Other than what we report in our fire risk assessment findings, we often get asked separately by many - can we use fire rated foam to fill the gaps or holes located in walls, corridors or through service pipe penetrations or, on cable trays separating rooms?First of all - what is PU foam
PU stands for Polyurethane and the foam itself comes sold as an 4 hour fire rated product. It is usually discharged with a pink colour to identify the fact it is a fire rated foam product. Some colours vary, such as Blue 60, for fire door architraves.So, the PU fire rated foam - Is it fire rated
YES, however, you MUST realise the use in-which the foam is to be installed.
For example, to achieve the 4 hour fire rating, the foam would need to be applied within dimensions not exceeding 10 mm width
x 50 mm depth
To confirm this, you would need to provide an fire strategy identifying the width and depth by both written evidence & pictorial evidence, prior to application.
By doing this, you would confirm for fire risk assessment, local authority fire safety inspecting officers, local authority building control officers & your insurers, that the fire rating claimed, is indeed that to which you have confirmed legally in both writing & pictorial evidence. Thus ensuring, any legal implications can be managed suitably.It pays to be diligent
So, if you applied the same product to an area of 50 mm width
x 10 mm depth
, the fire rating would be reduced dramatically by an massive 3 hours 49 minutes drop time - Thus only achieving 11 minutes of fire resistance. Not the 4 hours stipulated on the tin..!
Therefore, the 4 hour fire rating only applies in the most exceptional circumstance, where dimensions for its use are met and measured accurately.
Thus, it is very likely, most PU foam fire rating seals provided throughout the UK, will not
be achieving the desired or expected fire rating that is required.
Furthermore, fire rated foam alone, is almost always not suitable.In-short
10 mm width
x 50 mm depth
= Application = 280 minutes
50 mm width
x 10 mm depth
= Application = 11 minutes
Installation techniques can have an major effect on the fire resistance of PU fire rated foam - In subsequent tests, the PU foam 'time to failure
' in cable tray applications was in 9 mins & 7 mins, under laboratory test conditions. Not the 4 hours claimed by the installation engineers..!Remember this
Don't just let anyone conduct your fire stopping or passive fire protection installations. Check they know what they are doing. Check they are qualified passive fire protection installers & finally, check they have third party accreditation for passive fire protection products & installations, as this is the fabric of your building and if the job is not done correctly, it could well cost you your property, your business, your livelihood and worst case scenario - a LIFE..!
We conduct fire risk assessments on commercial and residential properties throughout Reading, Berkshire, for private landlords, commercial landlords/ letting agents, estate agents & all commercial businesses. We are helping many to identify failings in passive fire protection and remedy areas that could have cost a fortune or, a LIFE.
The key is to identify, then you can manage the risks suitably as your budget dictates (as per), your fire safety management policy & procedures may indicate or, an suitable Fire Safety Strategy
Any questions? Call - 0800 999 8595